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P V Sindhu loses to Carolina Marin in final, ends up with silver

World number one Carolina Marin of Spain overcame a first game loss to outplay India's P. V. Sindhu 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 in the final and win the gold medal in the badminton women's singles at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.

P. V. Sindhu
P. V. Sindhu
World number one Carolina Marin of Spain overcame a first game loss to outplay India's P. V. Sindhu 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 in the final and win the gold medal in the badminton women's singles at the Olympic Games here today.
 
It was Marin almost all the way in the match, barring the later stages of the first game, when Sindhu came from behind at 12-16 to first come up on level and then reel off five points in a row to win at 21-16.
 
But, overall, the 21-year-old was up against a much better player today as the Spaniard played aggressively almost throughout and controlled the proceedings.
 
This was the first time that an Indian had made it to the badminton singles final and the silver that Sindhu won today is an improvement on the bronze won by her teammate Saina Nehwal at the London Olympics in 2012.
 
Sindhu, appearing in her first Olympics, managed to stay level with Marin in the opening minutes but was soon behind at 2-5, 5-9 and then 6-12 as the Spaniard attacked well, both from the baseline and the net, and kept her rival moving all over court.
 
The Indian, however, fought back to narrow the gap at 16-17 but Marin then moved ahead to 19-16 with a powerful shot to Sindhu's backhand. A series of unforced errors by Marin helped Sindhu pull up at 19-19 and the Indian quickly picked up two more points to win at 21-19 before the Spaniard quite realised what had happened. Sindhu had scored five points in a row at that stage, reminding spectators of the manner in which she had reeled off 11 points in a row in the second game of yesterday's semi-final against Nozomi Okuhara of Japan, which she had won 21-19, 21-10.
 
Marin, an amazingly fast mover on the court, appeared more determined in the second game as she quickly jumped to a 4-0 lead, which she widened to 10-2 and then 11-4 before Sindhu could settle down.
 
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Sindhu fought back briefly, defending wll and come up some good shots at the net, to make it 7-14 but Marin, with superb angled shots, beautiful wrist work and deft placements, ensured that she stayed ahead, moving to 18-10 and then sealing the game at 21-12.
 
Marin began the decider on an aggressive note, grabbing a 7-4 lead. Again, Sindhu clawed her way back into the game by equalising at 10-10. The two players crossed over with Marin having a slender 11-10 advantage.
 
Sindhu kept up the fight but could not quite catch up and was behind at 14-16 from where Marin managed six points in a row to end up with six match points and prevailed finally at 21-15 to win the gold -- the first European woman to achieve the distinction in badminton at the Olympics. Sindhu is the first Indian woman to win a silver at the Olympics.
 
Sindhu has, in the process, become the fourth Indian to win an Olympic siver. The first was shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in 2004, followed by shooter Vijay Kumkar and wrestler Sushil Kumar, both in 2008.
 
The silver helped India to move up to the 57th place in the medals tally table.
 
“I played well. I wanted to win, but I could not," Sindhu said after the match. “I am proud of what I have achieved.  Silver is no  mean achievement in  the Olympics."
 
“It was a tough encounter  and I gave my best," Sindhu said. “Marin is a very good player she played well. I tried to stop her in the third, but could not but I am not complaining.
 
“Every player wants to win and, in my heart of hearts, I was also thinking that only one match is left for the gld but that  turned out to be elusive.
 
“Never mind, it was a good match. I never thought I will ever play in the Olympic final. I am happy with the silver I got," she added.
 
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ICC World T20: New Zealand stun India by 47 runs

New Zealand pulled off a stunning 47-run win over hosts India in the first group stage match of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium at Nagpur on Tuesday night.

 
New Zealand stun India, win by 47 runs
 
New Zealand pulled off a stunning 47-run win over hosts India in the first group stage match of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium here tonight.
 
The hosts appeared to have done well when they restricted New Zealand to 126 for seven in their 20 overs after the Kiwis' skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat first.
 
But they then managed to bowl out the Indians for just 79 in 18.1 overs to maintain their all-win record against India in T20 internationals, winning all the five matches they have met in so far. The shabby batting performance by the Indians was clearly no match for the might of the New Zealand bowling today.
 
Chasing what appeared to be an easy target, both the Indian openers departed under 10 runs. Shikhar Dhawan (1) was the first to go, trapped leg before wicket by Nathan McCullum.
 
Rohit Sharma followed him in the third over after making just five runs. He tried to take on Mitchell Santer, only to be removed by a stumping by Luke Ronchi. Suresh Raina (1) followed him into the pavilion in the same over. The south paw tried to flick the ball past mid-wicket only to play it too high and was caught by a waiting Martin Guptill at short mid-wicket.
 
Circumstances turned worse when Yuvraj Singh (4) followed within the power play, giving a return catch to Mccullum. Kohli who tried to build the innings with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni departed at the start of the ninth over.
 
By this time India were 39/5 and had bleak hopes of regaining control of the match.
 
Soon the rest of the tail tumbled for a feeble 79/10 in 18.1 overs. Except Dhoni (30), Kohli (23) and Ravichandran Ashwin (10), none of the other batsmen could cross into double digits.
 
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The New Zealnd bowlers had a great day in the field with the ball. Slow-left-arm bowler Santer topped the bowling chart with figures of four for 11 with an economy of 2.75. This was backed up by Ish Sodhi who clamed three wickets for 18 in his four overs. Santer was chosen Player of the Match.
 
Earlier, things did not appear to be going to well for the Kiwis as they made first use of the pitch.
 
Opener Guptill smashed the first ball of the match from Ashwin for a straight six. But the off-spinner got even two balls later, trapping the batsman leg before wicket.
 
Colin Munro, who replaced him, departed after making just seven an over later, top-edging Ashish Nehra's ball to wide mid-on.
 
From then on, the Indian bowling attack struck home in terms of both picking up wickets at regular intervals and also restricting the Kiwis' run tally. 
 
Both Raina and Ravindra Jadeja completed their four overs with figures of one for 15 as the Indians came up with a good all-round perfomrnance in the field.
 
Dhoni took a catch off Jadeja and did a stumping as well and two brilliant runouts by Raina and Dhawan added to New Zealand's woes.
 
Corey Anderson stood out in the batting order, scoring 34 runs, and Luke Ronchi  scored 21 off 11 balls to take the side's total to 126 for seven at the end of 20 overs.
 
Scoreboard:
New Zealand innings (20 overs maximum)
MJ Guptill lbw b Ashwin 6
KS Williamson st Dhoni b Raina 8
C Munro c Pandya b Nehra 7
CJ Anderson b Bumrah 34
LRPL Taylor run out (Raina) 10
MJ Santner c †Dhoni b Jadeja 18
GD Elliott run out (Dhawan/Nehra) 9
L Ronchi not out 21
NL McCullum not out 0
Extras (b 4, lb 3, w 6) 13
Total (7 wickets; 20 overs) 126 (6.30 runs per over)
Did not bat: AF Milne, IS Sodhi
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Guptill, 0.2 ov), 2-13 (Munro, 1.3 ov), 3-35 (Williamson, 6.5 ov), 4-61 (Taylor, 11.3 ov), 5-89 (Anderson, 15.4 ov), 6-98 (Santner, 16.4 ov), 7-114 (Elliott, 19.3 ov)
Bowling
R Ashwin 4 0 32 1
A Nehra 3 1 20 1
JJ Bumrah 4 0 15 1
SK Raina 4 0 16 1
RA Jadeja 4 0 26 1
HH Pandya 1 0 10 0
 
India innings (target: 127 runs from 20 overs)
RG Sharma st Ronchi b Santner 5
S Dhawan lbw b McCullum 1
V Kohli c Ronchi b Sodhi 23
SK Raina c Guptill b Santner 1
Yuvraj Singh c & b McCullum 4
MS Dhoni c McCullum b Santner 30
HH Pandya lbw b Santner 1
RA Jadeja c & b Sodhi 0
R Ashwin st Ronchi b Sodhi 10
A Nehra b Milne 0
JJ Bumrah not out 0
Extras (w 3, nb 1) 4
Total (all out; 18.1 overs) 79 (4.34 runs per over)
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Dhawan, 0.5 ov), 2-10 (Sharma, 2.2 ov), 3-12 (Raina, 2.5 ov), 4-26 (Yuvraj Singh, 4.5 ov), 5-39 (Kohli, 8.1 ov), 6-42 (Pandya, 9.4 ov), 7-43 (Jadeja, 10.2 ov), 8-73 (Ashwin, 16.3 ov), 9-79 (Dhoni, 17.4 ov), 10-79 (Nehra, 18.1 ov)
Bowling
NL McCullum 3 0 15 2
CJ Anderson 3 0 18 0
MJ Santner 4 0 11 4
GD Elliott 2 0 9 0
AF Milne 2.1 0 8 1
IS Sodhi 4 0 18 3
 
Toss - New Zealand, who chose to bat
Points - New Zealand 2, India 0
Player of the match - MJ Santner (New Zealand)
 
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SC appoints Gavaskar to oversee IPL as interim BCCI chief, Yadav to handle other functions

The Supreme Court on Friday appointed former Indian cricket skipper Sunil Gavaskar as interim president of the BCCI to oversee the IPL in place of incumbent N Srinivasan, who has stepped aside till the completion of the inquiry into allegations of betting and spot-fixing in the Twenty20 tournament.

 
BCCI counsel welcomes SC verdict
The Supreme Court today appointed former Indian cricket skipper Sunil Gavaskar as interim president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to oversee the Indian Premier League (IPL) in place of incumbent N Srinivasan, who has stepped aside till the completion of the inquiry into allegations of betting and spot-fixing in the Twenty20 tournament.
 
The apex court also said that all other functions of the BCCI president would be handled by another former cricketer, Shivlal Yadav, who is the seniormost vice-president of the BCCI. He represents the South Zone, the zone represented by Mr Srinivasan.
 
The court also allowed the two teams, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR), to participate in the seventh season of IPL beginning April 16. Both teams are being investigated for alleged involvement in the betting and spot-fixing scandal.
 
A two-judge bench comprising Mr Justice A K Patnaik and Mr Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla posted the matters before them, arising out of two petitions, for further hearing to April 16 and noted that it would take some more days after that for the hearing to be completed and for judgement to be delivered.
 
They noted that Mr Srinivasan had made a written offer through his counsel that, till investigation into which the allegations against him is completed, he will not discharge any of the functions of the post.
 
Senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for the Cricket Association of Bihar in one of the petitions, had submitted that no further investigation into the allegations against Mr. Srinivasan is necessary as the findings of the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee, appointed by the court, and the materials relied on by the said committee for the findings were sufficient for the court to remove Mr. Srinivasan from the post of BCCI president as prayed in the petition before the Bombay High Court.
 
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"As we are yet to hear all the parties in these matters, we cannot at this stage form any opinion and pass orders on the basis of such opinion for removal of Mr. Srinivasan from the post of the President of the BCCI. 
 
"The IPL 2014 is, however, scheduled to commence on 16th April, 2014 and we have to pass interim orders to ensure that all those who love cricket continue to watch cricket in IPL 2014 and the matches are played by the players in accordance with the IPL Rules," the judges said.
 
"Considering the fact that Mr. Sunil Gavaskar was a cricket player of great repute and eminence, a captain of the Indian cricket team for a long period and has a wide experience in cricket related activities and of men and matters, we appoint him, as an interim measure, to function as and exercise
the powers of the President of the BCCI in relation to the IPL, 2014 till we hear and deliver the judgment in these matters. We make it clear that
with regard to all other matters of BCCI, the senior most Vice-President of the BCCI, Mr. Shiv Lal Yadav, will discharge the functions of the President of the
BCCI. 
 
"We also direct that till we deliver the judgment, none of the employees of India Cement Limited or its associate companies (except cricket players or commentators) will perform any of the duties assigned to them by the BCCI and the Interim President, Mr. Sunil Gavaskar, will have power to engage the services of such persons on whom he has confidence for work in connection with the IPL 2014," the order said.
 
The court said that it was upto Mr Gavaskar to decide as to whether Mr Sundar Raman, also an employee of India Cement, Should continue as Chief Operating Officer of IPL or not.
 
"In case of any difficulty, Mr. Gavaskar may apply to this Court for appropriate orders," the judges said.
 
They also said that Mr Gavaskar would not work as a commentator during this period as an interim president of the BCCI in relation to IPL matters, and that he would be adequately compensated for the loss of income by the BCCI.
 
The compensation amount would be determined after the court resumes hearing in the matter on April 16.
 
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"We make it clear that we have not passed any order preventing any player or any team from participating in the IPL Tournament 2014," the court added.
 
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday said that Mr Srinivasan should step aside till the IPL probe is over and given it time until yesterday to come up with a proposal in this regard.
 
The BCCI yesterday told the court that Mr Srinivasan was willing to do so and that it was keen that the probe be completed expeditiously so that the whole episode could be put behind and it could move forward.
 
The Supreme Court proposed yesterday that Mr Srinivasan should step down and an eminent cricketer such as Mr Gavaskar be appointed in his place till it gave its final verdict in the IPL case.
 
It had also proposed that CSK and RR should not be part of IPL 7 and that no peson associated with India Cements, the company headed by Mr Srinivasan, should be allowed to function in any capacity in the BCCI.
 
The court had given the BCCI time until today to consider the proposals before it gave its interim order in the matter.
 
In the orders issued today, CSK and RR were allowed to participate in the tournament. 
 
The decision to ask Mr Yadav to handle the duties of the president of BCCI, other than those related to IPL, is in keeping with its rules which require that its head should be a member of the body.
 
Mr Srinivasan is the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of India Cements, which owns CSK, one of the eight teams in the tournament.
 
His son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, who was a member of the CSK team management, was arrested by the Mumbai Police in May 2013 as part of their probe into alleged spot-fixing and betting in the sixth season of IPL.
 
Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is also the captain of CSK, is a senior employee of India Cements, as are some others associated with IPL and BCCI.
 
Mr Srinivasan had last year stepped aside as the BCCI chief to facilitate the investigations into the allegations, but was, on September 29, 2013 re-elected to the position.
 
The Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee's report, which was handed over to the Supreme Court on February 10 this year, is understood to have said that the allegations against Mr Meiyappan needed to be probed further.
 
The court had appointed the committee on October 8 last year to investigate the alleged scam.
 
Some players of Rajasthan Royals, including Indian bowler S Sreesanth, had been arrested for their alleged role in the spot-fixing scam.
 
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India bags 4 more golds, slides to 3rd place in medals table

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India bagged up four more gold medals - 3 in boxing and 1 in table tennis - as it raised its tally to 36 golds but dropped to third place in the medals table in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Wednesday.

India's Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha after winning the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 13, 2010.
India's Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha after winning the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 13, 2010.

Indian boxers Paramjeet Samota, Manoj Kumar and Suranjoy Mayengbam and men's table tennis pair of Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha picked up gold medals as the hosts raised their tally to 36 gold medals on the penultimate day of the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.

The hosts, however, found themselves pushed to third place in the medals table, with 36 golds, 26 silvers and 34 bronzes.

England pushed past them to the second slot with 37 golds, 56 silvers and 45 bronzes while Australia was unassailable at the top with 72 golds, 50 silvers and 47 bronzes.

The day also brought some shame for the home contingent with athlete Rani Yadav, who had competed in the women's 20 km walk, testing positive for a banned substance during an anti-doping test. She has been suspended from the Games, pending the result of a B sample test in the next 48 hours.

Samota capped India's best-ever showing in boxing at the Commonwealth Games as he outpointed Tariq Abdul Haqq of Trinidad and Tobago 5-1 in the men's heavy weight (91 kg) event in the final bout of competition this evening.

The Indian, who had bagged the bronze at the Asian Championships in Zhuhai, China last year, dominated the bout from the word go. He was leading 3-0 in the first round and increased it to 5-0 by the ed of the second, finishing with a 5-1 decision.

Before him, Manoj Kumar upset the more experienced Bradley Saunders of England in the light welterweight (64 kg) category 11-2. Saunders is a European Championships gold medallist.

Kumar, 24, worked up a 4-1 lead after the first round and widened it further to 8-1 going into the last round.

Earlier, Suranjoy won his flyweight (52kg) bout by walkover when Benson Njangiru of Kenya pulled out with a wrist injury.

India ended the competition with three gold and four bronze medals. Northern Ireland won three gold and England two, while Scotland and Sri Lanka took one each. This was India's best showing in boxing in the Commonwealth Games. They had won one gold each in 2002 and 2006.

Top-seeded Achanta and Saha sent the crowd at the packed Yamuna Sports Complex into raptures as they beat second-seeded Gao Ning and Yang Zi of Singapore 9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 5-11, 11-8 in the final of the men's doubles event in table tennis.

The Singapore dictated the pace in the early stages and wrapped up the first set 11-9. But the crowd egged the local pair on and Achanta and Saha played brilliantly to take the next two sets 12-10 and 11-4. Gao and Yang took the match into a fifth set by winning the fourth 11-5 before Achanta and Saha settled the issue by winning the next set 11-8.

This is the first time that India has won the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games.

"In 2006 we went out of competition as underdogs. No one recognised us in the men's doubles competition in 2006. I was full of pride, so happy that I was finally able to do it. The government and our country has helped us a lot and the best way we can repay them is with a win today. Our aim was that our flag should fly high and we accomplished it," he said.

About his loss in the men's singles semi-finals to Yang earlier in the day, he said, "I lost the match today with close points. The competition was really tough. I wasn't able to forget my defeat today. It was really a hard phase today. I had just three hours to get rid of the thought that I was defeated today."

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India grab 6 more golds to take Games tally to 20, stay in 2nd place

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India won 6 more golds - 3 in shooting, 2 in wrestling and 1 in archery - to take its tally to 20 and retain the second slot in the medals table at the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Friday,

India's Dola Banerjee, Deepika Kumari and Bombayala Devi after winning the gold medal in archery in the women;s team recurve event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.
India's Dola Banerjee, Deepika Kumari and Bombayala Devi after winning the gold medal in archery in the women;s team recurve event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.

India won six more golds - three in shooting, two in wrestling and one in archery - to take its tally to 20 and retain the second slot in the medals table on the fifth day of competitions in the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.


The hosts have so far managed 20 golds, 16 silvers and 12 bronzes. Australia are at the top of the table with 47 golds, 24 silvers and 27 bronzes, while England remained in the third place with 19 golds, 37 silvers and 20 bronzes.


The day started on a happy note for India with the trio of Deepika Kumari, Dola Banerjee and Bombayala Devi Laishram coming from behind to stun England 207-206 and taking the top slot in the Women's Team Recurve event in archery.


A little later, ace shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan won the gold in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event.


Their compatriot Vijay Kumar, 25, set a new Games Final Record to win gold, notching up 787.5 points in the Singles 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men event. He had earlier broken his own Games Qualification Record with a score of 583 points.


Alka Tomar defeated Tonya Verbeek of Canada in the 59 kg Women's Freestyle wrestling event at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex.


She was followed by Anita, who beat Megan Buydens of Canada in the final of the 67 kg Women's Freestyle to take the gold.


"I've been through two months of hard training. After this win I'm more confident for future events like that," she said later.


India got their sixth gold medal of the day when shooter Omkar Singh won the Singles 10m Air Pistol Men with a score of 681.8. Bin Gai of Singapore took the silver with 676.2 while Daniel Repacholi of Australia got the bronze with 674.


Omkar Singh had picked up the gold in the company of Gurpreet Singh in the Men's 10m Air Pistol Pairs, notching up 1163 points for a new Games record. On Wednesday, he had won the Men's 50m Pistol Singles and taken the silver in the Men's 50m Pistol Pairs with Deepak Sharma on Tuesday.


Ashish Kumar, who won a bronze in the Men's Floor Exercise yesterday to earn for India its first ever medal in Gymnastics in the Commonwealth Games, won the silver in the men's vault today.


"I am disappointed at not getting the gold medal, but at least I have the experience of competing at this level. My first vault was the highest, but on the second I lost it," he said later.


Gymnast Ashish Kumar
Gymnast Ashish Kumar

The gold went to England's Luke Fowell, who had a score of 15.762 points. Kumar scored 16.150 points on his first attempt but then got a disappointing 14.475 on his second vault for an overall tally of 15.312. Ian Galvan of Canada got the bronze with a score of 15.037.


India had never won a medal in gymnastics before yesterday at the Olympics, World Championships or the Commonwealth Games.


Gurpreet Singh, who had won two golds yesterday in the Men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Pairs and 10m Air Pistol Pairs, won the bronze in the event. Malaysia's Hasli Izwan Amir Hassan took the silver with a score of 760.3.


Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Mansher Singh grabbed silver in the Men's Trap Pairs event in shooting with a score of 197. The gold went to Australian pair Michael Diamond and Adam Vella, who notched up 198 for a new Games record.


In tennis, India were assured of a gold or silver in both the men's and women's singles with top seed Somdev Devvarman and Sania Mirza winning their semi-final matches today.


Devvarman beat Australia's Matt Ebden 6-3, 6-1 and will meet Greg Jones, also of Austrlia, in the final on Sunday.


Mirza dropped a set but then staged a strong comeback in front of a partisan home crowd on Central Court to prevail 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 over Olivia Rogowska of Australia. She will meet the winner of the other semi-final between two Australians, Anastasia Rodionova and Sally Peers.


"That was a fantastic win. My heart is beating really fast. It hasn't sunk in," Mirza said after the match.


"I'm happy with the way I fought because in the match I didn't play that well. I knew I just needed to fight and come up with something different. I just had to hang in there," she said.


There was disappointment for the home crowds in the men's doubles with Rohan Bopanna and Devvarman going down 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 to Ross Hutchins and Ken Skupski of England and Mahesh Bhupati and Leander Paes losing 2-6, 2-6 to Paul Hanley and Peter Luczak of Australia in the semi-finals.


India's Rahul Banerjee and Tarundeep Rai won the bronze in the Men's Team Recurve in archery today, beating England for the third position.


In wrestling, Babita Kumari of India had to settle for silver in the women's freestyle 51 kg event after losing the final to Ifeoma Christi Nwoye of Nigeria in the final.


The Indian women's hockey team drubbed Trinidad and Tobago 7-0 after losing 1-2 to Australia yesterday.


In boxing, Jai Bhagwan thrashed Nasser Mafuru of Tanzania 11-2 in the lightweight (60 kg) and Dilbag Singh beat Aaron Prince of Trinidad and Tobago 11-3 in the welterweight (69 kg).


India lost to New Zealand in the women's pairs of the lawn bowls competition and found themselves pushed to fifth place and unlikely to make the play-offs.


In squash, Anwesha Reddy of India beat Zephanie Curgenven of Guernsey 11-5, 11-5 5-11, 6-11, 11-6 in the women's singles Consolation Plate Final at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.


Shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan of India after winning the gold medal in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.
Shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan of India after winning the gold medal in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.

For shooter Narang, it was his third gold medal of the meet so far and the second in the pairs. He had earlier won the men's 10m Air Rifle Pairs event along with Abhinav Bindra and then in the 10m Air Rifle Men's Singles event.


In the process, Narang became the fifth person to win seven gold medals in shooting in the Commonwealth Games. He is the first male athlete to win three gold medals at the current edition of the Games in Delhi.


Narang and Khan finished with a tally of 2325, a Games record, to beat James Huckle and Kenny Parr of England, who had a total of 2308 in the finals at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting range.


At the Yamuna Sports Complex, the England women archers had maintained a slender lead for most of the tie today but found themselves in a position where they needed to score 15 points with just two arrows left to overtake the Indians.


Amy Oliver managed only six with her last shot and Alison Williamson needed a 10 off her final arrow but hit an eight to hand the Indian team the gold.


India's compound archers had won a silver in the men's and a bronze in the women's team events yesterday.


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India grabs 5 golds to climb to 2nd spot in medals tally at Commonwealth Games

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India grabbed five gold medals to climb to the second spot in the medals tally behind Australia at the end of the second day of competitions in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Tuesday.

Shooters Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang after winning the first gold for India at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.
Shooters Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang after winning the first gold for India at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.

India grabbed five gold medals -- with two pairs of shooters hitting the bull's eye and wrestlers snatching all three titles at stake -- to climb to the second spot in the medals tally behind Australia at the end of the second day of competitions in the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.

The hosts started the day on a bright note as Beijing Olympics gold medalist Abhinav Bindra and world record holder Gagan Narang won the first gold of the Games for them in the men's 10 m Air Rifle Pairs at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.

They shot a total of 1,193 out of a maximum 1,200 points to snatch victory. Bindra scored 595 while Narang scored 598.

Shortly afterwards, Rahi Sarnobat and Anisa Sayeed set a Games record of 1,156 points to win gold in the women's 25 m Pistol Pairs.

The action then shifted to the wrestling arena at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, where in the men's Greco-Roman style, Ravinder Singh, Sanjay and Anil Kumar snatched gold in their respective categories.

Ravinder beat England's Christopher Terence Bosson 7-2 in the 60 kg category after which Sanjay prevailed over Brian Richard Addinall 2-0 in the 74 kg category. Anil Kumar brought more cheers for the home team by outperforming Hassene Fkiri of Australia 6-0 in the final of the 96 kg category.

India's medals haul today also included two silvers won by Deepak Sharma and Omkar Singh in the men's 50 m pistol pairs event and Tejaswini Sawant and Lajjakumari Gauswami in the 50 m rifle 3 position.

India's tally now stands at 5 golds, 4 silvers and 2 bronzes. India's women lifters Sonia Chanu and Sandhya Rani Devi gave India their first two medals - a silver and a bronze in the 48 kg class yesterday, followed by a silver and bronze by their male counterparts Sukhen Dey and V Srinivasa Rao in the 56 kg class.

In shooting, Sarnotbat achieved an average of 9.733 points while Sayeed averaged 9.533 in the session. For India, it was the second successive gold in this event, having won in the Melbourne Games in 2006, too.

Australia's Linda Ryan and Lalita Yauhleuskaya bagged silver with 1,146 points while Gorgs Geikie and Julia Lydall of England took the bronze with 1,122 points.

Onkar Singh and Deepak Sharma won a silver for India in the 50 m Air Pistol Pair event.

In the men's 10 m Air Rifle Pairs event, James Huckle and Kenny Parr of England took the silver with 1,174 points while Hel Abdullah Baki and Asif Hossain Khan of Bangladesh got the bronze with 1,173 points.

With today's victory, Bindra completed a treble in the event, having won golds earlier at the Manchester Commonealth Games in 2002 and at Melbourne in 2006. It was his fourth gold medal in shooting in the Games.

For Narang, it was his fifth gold medal in the Commonwealth Games, having won gold in the last three editions.

Bindra and Narang today broke their own Games record of 1,189 set in Melbourne four years ago.

India's badminton star Saina Nehwal in action against Mariama Ayanna Eastmond of Barbados in the team event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.
India's badminton star Saina Nehwal in action against Mariama Ayanna Eastmond of Barbados in the team event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.

Narang notched a sequence of 99, 100, 100, 99, 100, 100 while Bindra ended up with a series of 100, 98, 99, 100, 99, 99

In tennis, top seed Somdev Devvarman of India won 6-4, 6-2 in his opening match against Devin Mullings of the Bahamas but he looked ill at ease. "I was a little nervous. I did well to come back," he told reporters latr.

"Playing in India is a special feeling. It doesn't matter what seed you are. When you're playing something as big as this, it's a lot more special. You win for your country, then yourself," he added.

In the men's doubles, top seeded Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi of India cruised into the last eight with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Thangarajah Dineshkanthan and Amresh Jayawickreme in the first round.

In the women's doubles, Nirupama Sanjeev and Poojashree reached the quarter-finals with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Aminath Irufa Mahir and Aminath Maleela Solih of the Maldives.

In archery, top seed Rahul Banerjee and Jayanta Talukdar of India reached the last eight in the men's recurve as did Deepika Kumari and Dola Banerjee in the women's event.

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Indian Greco-Roman wrestlers hopeful of medals at Asiad

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Coach of six-member Indian Greco-Roman wrestling team Kuldeep Singh on Thursday expressed optimism that his grapplers will return home with a couple of medals from the Asian Games.
 
 “Greco-Roman is a very tough event and  also it is a very tough field out there with Kazakh and Iranian grapplers starting as favourites,” Kuldeep said.
 
"India has good chances of bagging a medal in 77 kg, 87 kg and 130 kg events,” said the coach, adding  that “barring Kazakhs and Iranians who are likely to dominate all the categories, all other countries in the fray have grapplers who are good or medal prospects in couple of categories.
 
"Japan, Uzbeks, Korean and Chinese are also among medal contenders," he said.
 
The  coach was of the view that Gurpreet (77Kg), Harpreet (87 kg) and Naveen (130 kg) stood good chances of a medal each if they perform to their potential and also if luck favours them in the draw.
 
Kuldeep said his optimism is based on the performance of the grapplers in the last year’s Asian Indoor Games which were also held in Jakarta in which India had won three medals -- two silvers and a bronze -- in Greco- Roman competitions. Naveen and  Harpreet  had won a silver each while Gurpreet bagged a bronze.
 
The coach said  it was in 2010 that India last won medals in Greco-Roman in the Asian Games with Sunil Rana and Ravinder Singh bagging a bronze each.
 
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He admitted that most of the spotlight has always been on freestyle, because Greco Roman is a very technical fight where the grapplers has  limited options.
 
Kuldeep, however, was happy that India has emerged as a serious challenger in the wrestling events of the Asian Games.
 
“I am confident that  our wrestlers will earn more medals this time. We have a good freestyle and women’s  team," he said.
 
He, however, was candid enough to admit that competition in the Asian Games is going to be much stiffer and tougher in the Asian Games compare to the Commonwealth Games.
 
Team:
 
Greco-Roman: Gyanender (59 kg), Manish (67 kg), Gurpreet Singh (77 kg), Harpreet Singh (87 kg), Hardeep Singh (97 kg) and Naveen (130 kg).
 
Freestyle: Sandeep Tomar (57 kg), Bajrang Punia (65 kg), Sushil Kumar (74 kg), Pawan Kumar (86 kg), Mausam Khatri (97 kg) and Sumit Malik (125 kg).
 
Women’s Team: Sakshi Malik (62 kg), Vinesh Phogat (50 kg), Pinki (53kg), Pooja Dhanda (57kg), Divya Kakran (68kg) and Kiran (72kg).
 
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I am in form, says two-time Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar

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Wrestler Sushil Kumar
Wrestler Sushil Kumar
Two-time Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar on Friday asserted he is in  “form now”  and looking forward to the wrestling events to start  in the Asian Games.
 
"I am in form now," said Sushil, who bagged silver in the 66-kg  category at the London Olympics and will be competing in the 74-kilogram division in Jakarta
 
"I always think my competitor is neither big nor small, neither junior nor senior. Whoever is opposite me must always be good enough (to compete)," he said.
 
Sushil  who won a bronze in 2006 , has been waiting a long time for an Asian Games gold medal though, in between, he has claimed a world title and two Olympic medals.
 
He won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in April and now is confident that he can repeat his performance at Jakarta.
 
"I am not  bothered about what my critics say, I am focused and will answer them on the mat,” he said.
 
"This is not the first time I have faced such situation. My critics have written me off many a time but I am still there," he said.
 
“Yes, I am answerable to my fans, to those who have confidence and trust in me," he said adding, “One thing I dislike is negativity. I am always confident and have positive energy which keeps me going."
 
"My coach and colleagues also believe in positivity. They shun negative thinking and that has helped me also," the celebrated wrestler said.
 
Askeed how he has been able to remain so agile and fit, Sushil said, “I  live a disciplined life. I am of the view that a sportsperson has to be disciplined. That's how I have trained all these years," he said.
 
Sushil was confident that India will win more medals in wrestling this time. All the grapplers are fit and keen to win glory for the country, he said.
 
India is now a powerhouse in wrestling in the continent. “We are taken very seriously by our rivals. We have reached this position by sheer hard work," he said.
 
"Indian wrestling is on a roll and I am happy to be a part of it,” he added.
 
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India aiming to keep Test series alive vs England at Trent Bridge

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A desperate Virat Kohli-led Indian team will be hungry to keep themselves alive in the five-match Test cricket series against hosts England when they square off in the third Test starting at Trent Bridge here on Saturday.
 
After losing the first two matches, the visitors face a must-win situation. India gave a very good fight before losing the first Test by 31 runs in Birmingham. In the second Test, they were outplayed by an innings and 159 runs at Lord's, succumbing within three days.
 
The Indian team management's major responsibility on Saturday morning would be to find a perfect team combination as players are going through fitness and out-of-form issues. 
 
India's playing eleven is likely to witness few changes with Delhi wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant all set to make his Test debut replacing Dinesh Karthik, who has failed miserably so far on the tour, with scores of 0, 20, 1 and 0 in his four innings.
 
Meanwhile, media reports suggest skipper Kohli has more or less recovered from his back problem and is expected to lead his side once again. Also, if opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan returns on Saturday, either Lokesh Rahul or Murali Vijay will be axed from the playing eleven.
 
Coming to the bowling department, with pacer Jasprit Bumrah having fully recovered from a finger injury and coach Ravi Shastri admitting his side should have dropped chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav at Lord's, the Gujarat right-armer is likely find a place in the team.
 
And with the forecast being a cloudy first four days, it seems difficult for Kuldeep to make the cut because of the seam-friendly condition.
 
However, with Umesh Yadav, who was dropped in the  Lord's Test for Kuldeep, the skipper would have to make a choice between him and Bumrah. Pacers Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami, along with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin are guaranteed to feature in the bowling department.
 
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On the other hand, England captain Joe Root on Friday confirmed that all-rounder Ben Stokes will return to the side replacing young seamer Sam Curran.
 
"It was one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make as captain. It's about us as a squad delivering over five games and on this occasion Sam is unfortunate to miss out," Root was quoted as saying by England Cricket Board (ECB).
 
"Ben is desperate to get back to playing cricket. He's desperate to get out there, put in performances and concentrate on his cricket now. He feels ready to play," he added.
 
Significantly, Stokes, who returned with figures of 6/113 at Edgbaston Test, had missed the second Test owing to a court case. In his place, Chris Woakes played, scoring 137 not out and picking up four wickets. Based on these performances, Woakes has been given another opportunity.
 
Both seam-bowling all-rounders, Stokes and Woakes, will operate along with specialist seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad -- who have picked 13 and 7 wickets, respectively, in the first two Tests.
 
Stokes' inclusion will add more steel to the batting of England, who have seen their opener Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings failing regularly with cheap scores.
 
The last time these two sides clashed here was back in 2014 when India scored 457 and 391/9 on a batting friendly surface, while England, who batted once, scored 496 as the match ended in a draw.
 
However, with the pitch condition different from the last time and conditions too, the visitors' first task will be to find a balanced team combination in a do-or-die situation.
 
IANS
 

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Handball team's campaign ends even before Games are officially inaugurated

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"We are here till 31 August," said  a beaming Indian handball  team  official P S Saluja even as the team suffered an embarrassing third successive defeat at the Asian Games on Friday. 
 
In fact, the Indian  team's campaign ended even before the Games are officially inagurated. 
 
India caved in to Iraq 29-40 at Popki Stadium. Earlier, they had lost to Bahrain 25-32 and Chinese Taipei 28-38  and are out of contention but, the way format is, they will continue to stay on and play positional matches as the competition schedule stretches till  the end of the month.
 
Among the two matches the women’s team has played, India has lost both, first to Kazakhstan 19-36 and then to Korea 18-45.
 
The handball team was the first to check in at the Games Village on August 11 and after losing all three preliminary matches even before the official opening on Saturday, they would stay on almost till the end while most of the medal prospects are yet to arrive.
 
Critics are already calling to pack off the team after such a despicable show, but this is an opportunity to reflect upon how to tackle such a situation, in which the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was forced to send the team.
 
It was the Handball Federation of India that produced a letter from the Asian Federation to show its men’s team is now ranked seventh as five other countries had pulled out of the Asian Games.
 
Having finished a lowly 12th out of 14 teams in the last Asian Championships, it was unlikely that this team would significantly do better to change its record of just four wins in 33 matches in Asia in the past 12 years
 
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Nonetheless, the handball teams are here and would enjoy their stay free of any pressure till the end of the month.
 
This was a team that got itself entered into the Games competition draw without informing the IOA, which first resisted clearance to the team but  later cleared it  for the Games.
 
It is an open secret that the Handball Federation of India Secretary Anandeshwar Pandey  insisted  that  team should be sent.
 
Pandey, the IOA Treasurer himself, claimed since Australia—who too compete in Asia, Uzbekistan, China, Oman, and the UAE had pulled out of the Asian Games, India were ‘effectively ranked seventh, which meant the team met the qualification criteria.’
 
The federation put forth this argument in front of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court, who left the decision to the IOA. The Olympic body’s legal cell saw merit in HFI’s ranking claim, and gave them the green signal to compete.
 
There are several other teams and officials who arm-twisted their way to Jakarta on tax payers' money.  
 
With the Games  to be inaugurated on Saturday, the next 15 days are going to be very tiring and taxing for Indian sports on and off the field.
 
One only hopes that good performances are not overshadowed  by the controversies and poor showing by back door entries.
 
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OCA welcomes IOC decision to lift suspension on Kuwait NOC for the Asian Games

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The Olympic Council (OCA) on Friday hailed the decision of International Olympic Committee (IOC) to lift the suspension of Kuwait conditionally.
 
The decision will enable National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Kuwait to field its contingent under the country's flag and anthem.
 
In a statement, the OCA said that it fully supports the decision of the IOC Executive Board, which allows Kuwaiti athletes to take part in the 18th Asian Games under the flag and anthem of Kuwait.
 
The Kuwaiti delegation will be led by the President of Kuwait Olympic Committee, Sheikh Talal Fahd Al Sabah, and will total 40 athletes and officials.
 
Kuwait NOC was suspended on October 27, 2015 due to government interference and conflicts in the sports law.
 
A similar ban was lifted just before the London 2012 Olympic Games for the same reason, allowing Kuwait to compete under the national flag.
 
The 18th Asian Games will take place in Jakarta and Palembang, capital of South Sumatra, from August 18 to September 2 with the participation of over 11,000 athletes from 45 National Olympic Committees.
 
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India hopes for its best ever Asian Games tally in Jakarta

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As the 20-year-old javelin champion Neeraj Chopra leads the Indian contingent into the 18th Asian Games here on Saturday with fans back home hoping and praying for the country’s 800 plus athletes to do well in the continental quadrennial sporting extravaganza, the controversial pull out by Leander Paes has somewhat dampened the team's spirits.
 
Though India is taking part in almost 36 disciplines, the main focus will be on Archery, Athletics, Boxing, Badminton, Hockey (Men/Women), Shooting, Wrestling, Tennis and Kabbadi.
 
“We will definitely improve upon our previous 57-medal mark  which we achieved in Incheon four years ago,” said chef de mission Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
 
Despite facing several odds and hardships in the earlier editions of the Games, India has done reasonably well in the Asiad, finishing inside the top eight (barring 1990 and 1998) since hosting the first editon of the Games in 1951.
 
“India was ranked eighth in the last Asian Games and I am hopeful that  we will win more medals this time and improve our overall standings,” Singh said, adding, “We  have  won at least 10 golds in each of the last four Games and this time we are expecting more yellow medals."
 
Hockey will once again attract more attraction because winning here will  not only be a morale booster for the team ahead of the World Cup slated to be held in Odisha in November but will  also assure  direct qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
 
Indians expect that their  campaign for the gold haul will be heralded by a star-studded shooting squad spearheaded by a trio of talented teenagers.
 
Anish Bhanwala, 15, became India’s youngest Commonwealth Games gold medallist when he won the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol, snatching the honour from 16-year-old Manu Bhake, who had won the women’s 10m air rifle finals on the Gold Coast barely a week before.
 
A third teenager, rifle shooter Elavenil Valarivan, will be another strong contender after landing two junior World Cup gold medals setting a new world record in the process.
 
The wrestlers, led by in-form Bajrang Punia, are the other best bet for a gold rush in these Games.
 
In the women’s section, Gold Coast champion Vinesh Phogat (50kg) is a strong  title contender.
 
In boxing, new training methods introduced by Argentine-born Swedish coach Santiago Nieva have produced positive results for the pugilists  in recent international competitions
 
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Vikas Krishan, who won the lightweight gold at Guangzhou in 2010 but took silver when he moved to middleweight four years later, is seeking his third successive Asiad medal.
 
India have won all nine kabaddi gold since its inclusion in 1990 and the trend is unlikely to change.
 
In  athletics, Commonwealth Games javelin champion Neeraj Chopra starts favourite for the title in the Games and it is hoped that his  teammates will also justify their inclusion in the squad with spirited display.
 
In compound archery, India is likely to dominate, having won all four events in the compound section when the category was introduced in Incheon four years ago.
 
"They have some experienced archers like Abhishek Verma and Rajat Chauhan but at the same time the youngsters also shot consistently. The level we reached was very high," star Italian star archer Sergio Pagni, who has been working with the Indian archers since January, has been quoted as saying. "I'm really proud of this group, they are all world class. I am sure that they will come out with flying colors from the Games."
 
In badminton, India is expected to compete for medals against the regional heavyweights.  
 
P. V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth are in the squad, and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini are India's best bet in mixed doubles. They played the quarter-finals at the Worlds before being beaten by the top-seeded Chinese pair Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong.
 
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Upset Paes leaves team in lurch, withdraws from Asian Games

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Having represented India for nearly three decades, veteran tennis  star Leander Paes on Thursday left his  Asian Games team in the lurch as he announced his withdrawal from the Asian Games.
 
The winner of 18 Grand Slams, who claimed to have given his best  while representing the country and playing for his  beloved Tri-Colour (Tiranga) decided to  opt of the team  because  he was not treated well by the All India Tennis Federation (AITA).
 
45-year-old Paes was greatly upset after being asked to pair with struggling singles player Sumit Nagal as the AITA paired Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan in the men's doubles, on their  request.
 
For Paes, who had a running battle with the AITA for the last six years, this pairing with Nagal was not acceptable and he late evening issued a  statement to media saying, "It is with a heavy heart that I have to say that I will not be playing the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia."
 
"Despite my repeated requests, from so many weeks in advance, it is sad that we have not been able to put a doubles specialist in the team for a credible second doubles pairing for the Asian Games," he said.
 
What hurt Paes most was that AITA did not  pair Ramkumar Ramanathan with him. "Ramkumar Ramanathan is a very good player, and I would love to play doubles with him. But considering that he has a golden chance to win the singles medal, it is not fair to distract him from his best event."
 
"Our doubles specialists like Sriram Balaji, Vishnu Vardhan, Purav Raja and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan have been doing exceptionally well this season and one of them definitely deserved to strengthen the Asian Games squad," he added.
 
The veteran sarcastically said that his pulling out will not dent the country's chances. "Rather than affecting the team's chances, I believe that my absence would only help the rest to play more events, be it doubles or mixed doubles," he said.
 
"I have been in constant touch with Captain Zeeshan Ali and have had long discussions with him with regard to Rohan Bopanna's injury. I am happy to learn that Rohan has recovered and as such a doubles medal for India is almost assured. Without his availability, it wouldn't have been fair for me to withdraw as that may have impacted a possible gold from tennis."
 
He also asked AITA for an explanation as to why he was not chosen for TOP Scheme but did not get a positive response. "Till date, I have submitted three applications for availing of the finances sanctioned by the government to athletes who represent the country. I have always put national duty before self and am confused as to why my application for the TOPS has not been processed so far," he added.
 
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We are here to create legacy: Hockey coach Harendra Singh

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“We are here to create legacy  by  winning the gold  for the second successive time," declared national hockey coach Harendra Singh in Jakarta on Thursday.
 
“No Indian men's hockey team has won back-to-back Asian Games Gold and we want to do that and create a legacy," the coach said while talking to this correspondent on the sidelines of the flag-hoisting ceremony at the Games Village.
 
Asked about the competition, the coach said, “We are confident but not over-confident. We know that we cannot afford to take any opposition lightly. In fact, no team at such level of competition can do so."
 
About the preparations, Harendra said, “We are doing well, the players are fit and eagerly looking forward to defending the title."
 
The Indian men's team is grouped in Pool A along with South Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong China and Indonesia. 
 
India start their campaign against hosts Indonesia. "It is not an easy pool, former champion Korea, Japan and China are formidable sides," he said.
 
Harendra said his tactics are very simple. "I don’t believe in complicated strategies. My advice to the boys is to play simple and straight hockey.”
 
He  said that the boys are well aware that winning here will also get India direct entry into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and also will be a stepping stone towards the World Cup  slated to be played in November at  Bhubaneswar in Odisha.
 
The coach maintained that he will not make any compromise on player’s fitness. 
 
“This 15-minute-per-quarter game demands hundred percent fitness and speed. If you don’t have speed you are at a disadvantage in this format,” he said.
 
Fitness and speed are the criteria for the players to be considered for the playing eleven. "Age is just numbers and I do believe if you are fit to survive 60 minutes on the astro-turf then you are there no matter what your age is,” he said.
 
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He refused to talk about other teams, particularly Pakistan, saying, ”I am keen that my players should be focused and fit. I am not worried about other teams."
 
“Because we take every opposition seriously, we are preparing to a plan. We plan for each match according to the situation," he said.
 
Harendra said, “We are the highest ranked team in this tournament and that gives us a bit of a physiological advantage over other teams but then it all boils down to how a team plays on that day."
 
The coach had no hesitation in accepting the fact that penalty corner conversion is one area which needs to be worked on. “I must say that in Commonwealth Games and at Champions Trophy our penalty corner conversion was not very good  We need improvement and we are working on that," he said.
 
"We are trying to improve the rate of penalty corner conversion. But  also would want to score goals first and maintain the lead and keep a comfort level," he said.
 
Former captain Sardar Singh agreed with the coach’s view, saying “the win here will give us almost two years to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics”       
 
Sardar was of the view that a good showing here will boost the team’s morale before the World Cup.
 
Skipper Sreejesh said all that players are fit. ”This team is very balanced. On an average, all the players have played more than 100 matches. Only two  or three players have played less matches."
 
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Kidambi Srikanth confident of good showing in Asiad

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Kidambi Srikanth. File photo: (Xinhua/Chong Voon Chung/IANS)
Kidambi Srikanth. File photo: (Xinhua/Chong Voon Chung/IANS)
Indian badminton star Kidambi Srikanth has exuded confidence about performing well at the 18th Asian Games commencing in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, from August 18.
 
With four leading players -- P.V.  Sindhu (ranked 3rd in the world), Srikanth (6th), Saina Nehiwal (10th) and H S Prannoy ( 11th) -- in their ranks, India on paper start as strong contenders for medals in the badminton competition.
 
“I’m in the best of shape but everyone else is also doing well. We had five different tournaments in the last couple of months and we had different winners in each. So it is important for me to be at my best going into the Asian Games,” said Srikanth.
 
“I have no doubt that if we just play to our potential we will be in contention for podium finish,” he said and added, “It is no doubt going to be tough with Chinese and Indonesians along with Koreans and Japanese in contention."
 
Indians have so far won only three bronze medals in badminton in these games -- in 1982 (Delhi), 1986 (Seoul) and in 2014 (Incheon).
 
Syed Modi is the only Indian to have won a medal in the individual event 36 years ago, while the men’s and women’s doubles pairs had a podium finish in 1986 and 2014, respectively. But this time one can realistically hope for medals in the Individual events.
 
For long badminton has been the preserve of China and Indonesia in these continental quadrennial Games. 
 
Their overwhelming domination can be judged from the fact that China has so far won 101 medals, 40 of which are gold, while Indonesia has 91 medals which include 26 gold medals.
 
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However, in this edition of the Games, India enters as a force after their very successful campaign in the Commonwealth Games in which, for the first time, they won 6 medals, with 2 gold, 3 silver, and 1 bronze medal, pushing favourite Malaysia behind.
 
It was also at Gold Coast that Sindhu and Saina created history as they set up an all-India final in the women's singles.
 
“There are many players who are doing well. Dan as always will be a fierce competitor. Then there is Momota and it is not going to be easy at all,” said Srikanth, who is taking part in his second regional showpiece event.
 
“I’m a more mature player now. I was just 21 then and a lot many things have changed. Lot many things have got redundant and I have had to change my game a lot. 
 
"Many things have happened after that for me – the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. Four years is a long time for any sportsperson and I want to better my performance here,” the 25-year-old added.
 
IANS
 
 

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Former India cricket captain Ajit Wadekar passes away

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Former India cricket captain Ajit Wadekar passed away here on Wednesday after a prolonged illness. He was 77.
 
Wadekar, who played 37 Tests, led India to historic triumphs in the West Indies and England in the 1970s.
 
Under him, India won five matches in the West Indies in the early 1970s before beating England in a three-match series.
 
Wadekar, who scored 2,113 Test runs with 14 half centuries and a century, led India to a third successive series victory, beating England once again in 1972-73.
 
He also appeared in two One-day Internationals. 
 
An aggressive left-handed batsman, Wadekar made his first class debut in 1958-59 before making his India debut in 1966-67.
 
After his retirement, he also served as the Manager of the national team led by Mohammed Azharuddin in the 1990s.
 
IANS
 

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England name unchanged squad for third Test

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The England selectors have named an unchanged squad for the third cricket Test against India at Trent Bridge, starting August 18.
 
Already 2-0 up in the five-match Test rubber after wins at Edgbaston and Lord's, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement that it will make an assessment of all-rounder Ben Stokes' availability after the conclusion of the trial in Bristol.
 
This means Stokes is likely to miss out even if he is found not guilty of affray at Bristol Crown Court this week. 
 
Stokes' absence from the Lord's Test, however, did not affect England in the second game, with fellow all-rounder Chris Woakes striking his maiden century and putting in a man-of-the-match performance. 
 
Woakes registered a maiden Test century, scoring 137 not out, along with match figures of 4/43.
 
England squad for 3rd Test: Joe Root (Captain), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (WK), Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Sam Curran, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope, Jamie Porter, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes.
 
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England outplay India by innings & 159 run at Lord's

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Stuart Broad(File photo: IANS)
Stuart Broad(File photo: IANS)
England bowled out India for 130 runs in the second innings to win the second Test by an innings and 159 runs on the fourth day of the play here on Sunday.
 
With the win, England have taken a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
 
Having conceded a first-innings lead of 289 runs, India's batting line-up could notch up only 130 runs in their second innings here to add to their first innings total of 107.
 
Seamers Stuart Broad and James Anderson took four wickets each, while fellow seamer and Man of the Match Chris Woakes picked up two.
 
The fourth day started with England declaring their first innings at 396/7, taking a lead of 289 runs. Woakes (137) remained unbeaten.
 
Resuming the fourth day at 357/6, England added 39 runs to their overnight score with Woakes scoring 137 in 177 balls, which includes 21 boundaries.
 
England lost the lone wicket of Sam Curran (40) on Sunday.
 
Coming to bat in the second innings, India got off to a disastrous start as the visitors were 17/2 at lunch, trailing by 272 runs.
 
Cheteshwar Pujara (5) and Ajinkya Rahane (1) were at the crease when sky opened up which forced umpires to call for the break early.
 
After hosts batsmen applied themselves brilliantly, bowlers did a superb job and put pressure on Indian batsmen right from the start.
 
Opener Murali Vijay (0) was the first one to go. He was caught behind off pacer James Anderson in the third over.
 
Lokesh Rahul (10) and Pujara then tried to repair the damage but Anderson once again struck to dismiss Rahul. He was adjudged leg before wicket in the seventh over.
 
Rahane and Pujara then played sensibly and did not lose their wickets till the end of the first session.
 
The second session saw the same struggle as England pacer Stuart Broad took all the four wickets in the session to push India on the verge of defeat in the second Test, with the tourists reaching 66/6 at tea.
 
Broad's fiery spell swept aside India's batting spine, with Ajinkya Rahane (13), Cheteshwar Pujara (17), Virat Kohli (17) and Dinesh Karthik (0) falling to the right-armer, leaving the visitors trailing by 223 runs.
 
The Indian batsmen had struggled throughout the match, being bowled out for a paltry 107 in the first innings.
 
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Resuming the second session at 17/2, Rahane was the first to go. The right-hander from Mumbai chased a wide delivery outside the off-stump only to edge it to Keaton Jennings at third slip.
 
Pujara worked really hard, showing many of his attributes, like patience and doggedness until a late inswinging delivery from Broad rattled his stumps.
 
Kohli, who was being troubled by back stiffness, could score only 17 runs. A delivery from Broad rose to kiss his gloves before hitting his hip as Ollie Pope at short leg dived forward to take a sharp catch.
 
Broad then sent back wicketkeeper-batsman Karthik for a duck as he failed to negotiate an inswinger before it hit his pad and the umpire declared him out LBW.
 
Hardik Pandya (1 not out) and Ravichandran Ashwin (0 not out) were at the crease when rain forced an early close of the second session of play.
 
The final session was a mere formality as India had virtualy lost the match. 
 
With four more wickets remaining, England bowlers came out all guns blazing and wrapped up the lower order of Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammad Shami and Ishant Sharma with ease.
 
Pandya and Ashwin, however, tried to put the brakes on the fall of wickets but Woakes dismissed Pandya and then Anderson did the rest to hand his team a convincing victory.
 
Brief scores: India: 107 and 130 (Ravichandran Ashwin 33 not out, Hardik Pandya 26; Stuart Broad 4/44, James Anderson 4/23) vs England: 396/7 declared (Chris Woakes 137 not out; Jonny Bairstow 93, Sam Curran 40; Hardik Pandya 3/66, Mohammed Shami 3/96).
 
IANS
 

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England beat India by an innings and 159 run in 2nd Test

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Stuart Broad(File photo: IANS)
Stuart Broad(File photo: IANS)
England bowled out India for 130 runs in the second innings to win the second Test by an innings and 159 runs on the fourth day of the play on Sunday.
 
With the win, England took a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
 
Having conceded the first-innings lead by 289 runs, India's batting line-up could register only 130 runs in their second innings here to add to their first innings total of 107.
 
Seamers Stuart Broad and James Anderson took four wickets each, while fellow seamer Chris Woakes picked up two.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Wrestlers promise good showing at Jakarta Asiad

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Indian wrestlers selected for the Jakarta Asian Games on Sunday promised to bring  glory to the country by winning more medals in the quadrennial continental event.
 
Bronze  medal winner at Rio Olympics, Sakshi Malik  put it succinctly: “Obviously everybody at the Games is gunning for medals. I can always hope for a medal and I will do my best to contribute to India’s medal tally.”
 
Talking to mediapersons at a send-off ceremony, she admitted, “Yes, the expectations add to the pressure. But that also adds to responsibility and commitment we have to have towards our country."
 
Bajrang Punia, the best bet among men in freestyle 65 kg class, described the evening “really motivating". The silver medal winner at the Incheon Games said all the team members were training hard and promised a good show at Jakarta. 
 
“We don't train for one opponent. We just can’t do that because you don’t know who your opponent would be,” he said. “But mentally you have to be strong to tackle the situation,” he added.
 
Talking about the support the wrestlers have received, all the participants agreed that it has come as a morale booster. Vinesh Poghat, one of the most experienced with a bronze from the previous Games to show, was positive about her performance. But she pointed out, “All the 18 wrestlers are medal prospects. It’s about that one day and particular bout when you contest."
 
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Wrestling Federation of India (WFI)  president Brij Bhushan Singh said, “Wrestling has always given us a good number of medals in all Games. We are expecting our grapplers to make us proud once again. I am sure they will have a better harvest this time at Jakarta than they did at Incheon Games, four years ago. All my WFI team of officials and I wish them good luck.”
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Girish Wagh, President - Commercial Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors said, “Wrestling is not just a sport of strength, but also of courage. I feel proud of all the wrestlers who have achieved such great heights overcoming various challenges along the way. On behalf of Tata Motors family, I wish all the wrestlers ‘Gold’ Luck as they head to Jakarta.”
 
The squads:
 
Men’s Freestyle: Sandeep Tomar (57 kg), Bajrang Punia (65 kg), Sushil Kumar (74 kg), Pawan Kumar (86 kg), Mausam Khatri (97 kg) and Sumit (125 kg).
 
Greco-Roman: Gyanender (60 kg), Manish (67 kg), Gurpreet Singh (77 kg), Harpreet Singh (87 kg), Hardeep Singh (97 kg) and Naveen (130 kg).
 
Women’s Freestyle: Vinesh Phogat (50 kg), Pinki (53kg), Pooja Dhanda (57kg), Sakshi Malik (62 kg), Divya Kakran (68kg) and Kiran (76kg).
 
IANS
 

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England reduce India to 66/6 in 2nd innings

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Stuart Broad(File photo: IANS)
Stuart Broad(File photo: IANS)
England pacer Stuart Broad took all the four wickets in the second session of the fourth day's play to push India to the verge of defeat in the second Test, with the tourists reaching 66/6 at tea here on Sunday.
 
Broad's fiery spell swept aside India's batting spine, with Ajinkya Rahane (13), Cheteshwar Pujara (17), Virat Kohli (17) and Dinesh Karthik (0) falling to the right-armer, leaving the visitors trailing by 223 runs.
 
There is a real possibility of an innings defeat here for India, who lost the opening Test in Birmingham by 31 runs. Their batsmen have struggled throughout. After they were bowled out for 107 in the first innings, they have landed themselves in a deep crisis in the second innings.
 
Resuming the second session at 17/2, Rahane was the first to go. The right-hander from Mumbai chased a wide delivery outside the off-stump only to edge it to Keaton Jennings at third slip.
 
Pujara worked really hard, showing many of his attributes, like patience and doggedness until a late inswinging delivery from Broad rattled his stumps.
 
Kohli, who was being troubled by back stiffness, could score only 17 runs. A delievery from Broad rose to kiss his gloves before hitting his hip as Ollie Pope at short leg dived forward to take a sharp catch.
 
Broad then sent back wicketkeeper-batsman Karthik for a duck as he failed to negotiate an inswinging delievery before it hit his pad and the umpire declared him out LBW. 
 
Hardik Pandya (1 not out) and Ravichandran Ashwin (0 not out) were at the crease when rain forced an early close of the second session of play.
 
Brief scores: India: 107 and 66/6 (Cheteshwar Pujara 17, Virat Kohli 17; Stuart Broad 4/16, James Anderson 2/9) vs England: 396/7 declared (Chris Woakes 137 not out; Jonny Bairstow 93, Sam Curran 40; Hardik Pandya 3/66, Mohammed Shami 3/96) at tea on Day 4.
 
IANS
 

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India trail by 272 at lunch against England

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Jonny Bairstow (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Jonny Bairstow (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
India were 17/2 in their second innings at lunch, trailing by 272 runs on the fourth day of the second Test match against England here on Sunday.
 
Cheteshwar Pujara (5) and Ajinkya Rahane (1) were at the crease when sky opened up which forced umpires to call for the break early.
 
After England declared their first innings at 396/7, taking a 289 runs lead, bowlers did a brilliant job and put pressure on Indian batsmen right from the start.
 
Opener Murali Vijay (0) was the first one to go. He was caught behind off pacer James Anderson in the third over.
 
Lokesh Rahul (10) and Pujara then tried to repair the damage work but Anderson once again struck to dismiss Rahul. He was adjudged leg before wicket in the seventh over.
 
Rahane and Pujara then played sensibly and did not lose their their wickets till the end of the first session.
 
Earlier, Chris Woakes (137) remained unbeaten as England declared their first innings at 396/7.
 
Resuming the day at 357/6, England added 39 runs to their overnight score with Woakes scoring 137 in 177 balls, which included 21 boundaries. Jonny Bairstow had scored 93 yesterday.
 
England lost the lone wicket of Sam Curran (40). 
 
IANS
 

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Woakes, Bairstow give England 250-run lead over India on Day 3

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Jonny Bairstow (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Jonny Bairstow (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
England rode on an unbeaten 120 by Chris Woakes and 93 by Jonny Bairstow (93) to reach 357 for six wickets and take a huge 250-run lead over India on the third day of the second Test at the Lord's here on Saturday.
 
All-rounder Woakes registered his maiden international century, while Bairstow scored his 19th Test fifty as the duo shared a 189-run stand for the sixth wicket.
 
When the pair had joined hands, England were 131/5 and India had done well to stay in competitive mode in the rain-affected match.
 
But Bairstow and Woakes dealt handsomely with every challenge that came their way. And India captain Virat Kohli was also blamed for letting the game drift with this partnership by not asking his bowlers to operate with aggressive intent.
 
Woakes was particularly impressive as he was making a comeback into Test cricket after an injury and he got a chance to play only because Ben Stokes went off duty due to personal reasons.
 
Woakes and Bairstow initially saw off the probing deliveries from Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma who had troubled the English top-order. But once they got into groove, they adapted to the conditions and the runs flowed, even against spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav.
 
Before this partnership, even though the sun was smiling at the Lord's, Indian pacers had floored the English batsmen. Alastair Cook (21), Keaton Jennings (11), debutant Ollie Pope (28) and skipper Joe Root (19) had perished before lunch, with England 18 runs behind India's first innings total.
 
Beginning the day, Cook and Jennings made a positive start, showing a lot of intent. But a full-pitched delivery missed Jennings' bat and hit his pads, resulting in an LBW decision, with the hosts at 28.
 
Cook fell soon, as an away-moving delivery from Ishant found an edge and the ball landed in the hands of wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik.
 
As soon as 20-year-old Pope joined Root in the middle, India captain Virat Kohli decided to bring in chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav to operate from one end. Pope showed a lot of promise, dealing confidently with Ishant, Shami and Kuldeep.
 
The partnership between Pope and Root had reached 45 runs when a delivery from Pandya dismissed the former. Pope missed the line and was plumb in front of the wicket, with England at 77/3.
 
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The hosts ran further into trouble when Shami was favoured in a LBW appeal against Root to close the first session of play.
 
Resuming the post-lunch session at 89/4, England came back strongly with Bairstow forging a vital 42-run fifth wicket stand with Jos Buttler, who got a quickfire 22-ball 24, laced with four hits to the fence.
 
Buttler, however, soon perished to Mohammed Shami, giving the pacer his third wicket of the day.
 
Thereafter, Woakes joined Bairstow in the middle and the duo kept frustrating the Indian bowlers with some risk-free batting, that saw them reach to their respective half centuries in no time.
 
Then Indian bowlers tried to contain the runs, setting defensive fielding placements. It allowed the English pair to get singles and doubles without any pressure.
 
Woakes hit a short-pitch delivery from Shami towards the deep midwicket for a four to bring his three-figure mark.
 
Bairstow, however, was not lucky. He took a lot of time in his nineties before a drive off Hardik proved fatal as a diving wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik plucked a very good catch to bring relief to India.
 
Later, Sam Curran (22 not out) and Woakes took England to 357/6 when bad light forced early close of the day's play.
 
Brief scores: England: 357/6 (Chris Woakes 120 not out; Jonny Bairstow 93; Mohammed Shami 3/74) vs India 107 at stumps on Day 3.
 
IANS
 

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Bairstow, Woakes fifties puncture India in Lord's Test

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Jonny Bairstow (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Jonny Bairstow (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
England rode on fluent half centuries from Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes to reach 230/5 and extend their lead over India to 123 runs at tea on the third day of the Lord's Test here on Saturday.
 
At the break, Bairstow (62 not out) and Woakes (55 not out) went back undefeated after adding 99 runs for the sixth wicket.
 
Resuming the post-lunch session at 89/4, England came back strongly with Bairstow forging a vital 42-run fifth wicket stand with Jos Buttler, who got a quickfire 22-ball 24, laced with four hits to the fence.
 
Buttler, however, soon perished to Mohammed Shami, giving the pacer his third wicket of the day.
 
Thereafter, Woakes joined Bairstow in the middle and the duo kept frustrating the Indian bowlers with some risk-free batting, that saw them reach their respective half centuries in no time.
 
Earlier, Indian bowlers dominated the opening session of the day by reducing England to 89/4 at lunch.
 
Alastair Cook (21), Keaton Jennings (11), debutant Ollie Pope (28) and skipper Joe Root (19) were the batsmen to have been dismissed, with England 18 runs behind India's first innings total.
 
Brief scores: England: 230/5 (Jonny Bairstow 62 not out, Chris Woakes 55 not out; Mohammed Shami 3/67) vs India 107.
 
IANS

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England reach 89/4 at lunch on Day 3

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Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook
India reduced England to 89 for four wickets at lunch on the third day of their second Test at the Lord's here on Saturday.
 
Alastair Cook (21), Keaton Jennings (11), debutant Ollie Pope (28) and Joe Root (19) were the batsmen to have been dismissed, with England 18 runs behind India's first innings total.
 
Jonny Bairstow (four not out) was at the crease at the time lunch was taken.
 
Seamer Mohammed Shami picked up two wickets, while pacer Ishant Sharma and Hardik Pandya took a wicket each.
 
Beginning the day, Cook and Jennings made a positive start, showing a lot of intent. But a full-pitched delivery missed Jennings' bat and hit his pads, resulting in a LBW decision, with the hosts at 28.
 
Cook fell soon, as an away-moving delivery from Ishant found an edge and the ball landed in the hands of wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik.
 
As soon as 20-year-old Pope joined Root in the middle, India captain Virat Kohli decided to bring in chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav to operate from one end. Pope showed a lot of promise, dealing confidently with Ishant, Shami and Kuldeep.
 
The partnership between Pope and Root had reached 45 runs when a delivery from Pandya dismissed the former. Pope missed the line and was plumb in front of the wicket, with England at 77/3.
 
The hosts ran further into trouble when Shami was favoured in a LBW appeal against Root to close the session.
 
Brief scores: England: 89/4 (Ollie Pope 28, Alastair Cook 21; Mohammed Shami 2/37) vs India at lunch on Day 3.
 
IANS
 

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